What Is Corporate Culture?


In the United States corporate cultures differ greatly from country to country. Traditionally there have always been differences in terms of the definition of corporate culture. This paper will focus on four items that are often confused with the concept of corporate culture and explore the differences between them. The differences will help determine if a business should try to create a corporate culture and avoid one, or if it is even possible to construct one.

The first thing to recognize when debating what is corporate culture is that it is made up of 7’s components. These include values, beliefs, purpose, traditions, system, mission, culture, and soft elements. Defining these in simple terms will help you better understand the meaning of the concept.

Values: The values of a business are grounded in its history, heritage, and commitment to its community and employees. A good company will value its customers and look out for their needs. It will look to recruit employees that share the same values as itself. If an employee develops a negative work ethic that damages the company, it can be easily corrected. A positive corporate culture encourages employees to develop a positive work ethic and share the same beliefs and goals.

Beliefs: Believing is one of the seven fundamental elements of corporate culture. Employees should be encouraged and rewarded for learning and doing things that are in line with what the company stands for. Those that do not have strong beliefs and convictions are often thought of as weak, which can lead to bad leadership. This does not mean that all employees have to be religious, but strong religious beliefs are strongly encouraged. People that embrace a specific philosophy should be considered for important managerial positions.

System: Systems play a large part in creating organizational culture and values. Employees should feel that they are part of an organized team, where each person knows his or her role and how the others are related. Structured training programs should include educational opportunities for employees to learn about and use systems effectively. A successful corporate culture understands that the strength of its organizational culture comes from its ability to predict and prevent new challenges.

Rewards: Rewards are a major part of creating a positive corporate culture. People that enjoy their work and the benefits of working for a company will be more satisfied and productive. Internal competitions for promotions and raises should be kept at a minimum so that employees know how much they are valued. A company culture that understands that employees are motivated by the prospect of a raise or promotion, rather than the promise of a job, will create a work environment that works well.

Human Resources: The human resources department is an important partner in creating a corporate culture. It should encourage participation and encourage employees to feel like a part of the organization. Its function is to identify talent and potential and to groom them. Developing an environment where employees feel like they belong is important for the health of a business. Companies that place a premium on employees’ engagement and development are likely to have high employee turnover rates and to find that they are rarely able to fully recruit and retain the best talent.

It is important for managers to understand what they want for their companies. They must be clear about what qualities their organizations need, what they expect of employees, and how those standards are to be attained. It is possible to develop an organizational culture that exists mostly within employees, but it is equally essential for managers to encourage external contributions from employees as well. Without a shared sense of commitment and purpose, the value of what a company does will be diminished. Creating a corporate culture that works is the first step toward success.

The difference between corporate culture and organizational culture is one that has significant consequences for the way in which both companies and their employees deal with new challenges and new opportunities. Both need to be built to last and need to be maintained in order to maximize the benefits of a company’s mission and strategies. Companies also need to work closely with their employees in order to teach them the value of building a culture and create new challenges and opportunities that they can all participate in. Finally, both need to understand the importance of the other in order to be successful at working together for the collective good of the business.